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Diana Ghazaryan

Armenian Defense Ministry: "We Knew About the Turkish F-16s in Azerbaijan"

Armenian Ministry of Defense representative Artsrun Hovhannisyan claimed, at a news briefing today, that the Armenian Armed Forces knew about the presence of Turkish F-16 fighters in Azerbaijan on August 13-14, when joint Turkish-Azerbaijani military exercises in Azerbaijan ended.

The Turkish fighters were not removed from Azerbaijan, Hovhannisyan said, adding that he didn’t want to disclose how many Turkish fighters are in Azerbaijan now. (The exercises began on July 29 with the participation of Turkey's and Azerbaijan's air and ground forces.) 

Yesterday, Armenia claimed that a Turkish F-16, based in Ganja, Azerbaijan, downed one of its Su-25 fighters over Armenian airspace, killing the pilot. The Armenian government today released photos it claims shows the downed plane.

"Azerbaijan tried everything to deny this and made that ridiculous statement yesterday that there are no F-16s in their air force. We know very well what fighters are in their air force. We know very well that their fighter planes cannot perform their tasks correctly and that's why the F-16s are there,” Hovhannisyan said.

The ministry official said that Armenia has radio intelligence to prove the existence of Turkish fighters working for the Azerbaijani military. He offered no specifics other than to say that evidence would be forthcoming.

 Hovhannisyan said that the Turkish F-16 that shot down an Armenian Su-25 yesterday did not enter Armenian airspace to any significant degree.

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